Delphoi

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Alexander14
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Delphoi

Post by Alexander14 » Wed Aug 13, 2003 3:07 pm

Hello everyone,<br /><br />I'm German so please be patient with my English. I'd like to ask your advice: I'm trying to find out the right Ancient Greek spelling of the famous Delphic inscription "Know Thyself". It is usually written "gamma, nu, omega, theta, iota - sigma, alpha, upsilon, tau, omicron, nu". I've come across a different version where the last word is written with an "epsilon" behind the "sigma". <br />I'm also trying to figure out the alphabet that was used in the Delphic area around 6 B.C. <br />You would really help me a lot if you would share your knowledge. Thanks for listening.
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greagach
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Re:Delphoi

Post by greagach » Wed Aug 13, 2003 4:04 pm

Hallo, Alexander, und herzlich willkommen bei "Textkit"-Forum.<br /><br /> The three inscriptions on Delhpoi's Thesaurus (?) have not been preserved by time, so nobody's actually certain about how they were spelt (there is also enormous controversy about the other one, "E" or "EI"? and its meaning).<br /> <br /> I believe that it's spellt as [size=150]γνῶθι σαυτόν , i.e. without the epsilon, contracted form of [size=150]εἰς + αὐτόν , where the epsilon should be dropped in order to avoid cacophony, and thus have I encountered the saying in various books so far. <br /><br /> But this said, don't take my word for granted, because, apart from the fact that I'm a beginner, I don't have the slightest idea about the alphabet in use in the Delphic area at the time the inscriptions were carved... <br /><br /> I only suppose it must be the so-called "pre-Eucleidean" form, that is before the Attic reform of spelling. But to me, the "sEauton" form is odd enough already, perhaps indicating an influence of modern Greek, or even French (in which "eau" is pronounced as "au"; I remember having once read it so in a French book), unless it's an academical, analytical version for the sake of learners... <br /><br /> To find out, I suggest you located the dialect or origin of the person who first told it (dubious that one, too, as some say it is of Chilon, others of Thales, and fewer of Phemenoe!).<br /><br /> If analogy could be of any help on that case, I am copying here some synonyms of the saying for you: <br /><br /> [size=150] σαυτόν ἴσθι <br /><br /> [size=150] το γνῶθι σαυτόν χρήσιμον εἰς νουθεσίαν τῶν ἀλλαζόνων (...)<br /><br /> I wonder what others have to say on this...<br /><br /> mach's gut, Consaidin.
αἴτιον: ἡ ψυχὴ μετὰ λόγου· συναίτιον: τὸ πῦρ [Ἡράκλειτος]

annis
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Re:Delphoi

Post by annis » Thu Aug 14, 2003 12:43 pm

[quote author=greagach link=board=2;threadid=466;start=0#3825 date=1060790656]<br /> I only suppose it must be the so-called "pre-Eucleidean" form, that is before the Attic reform of spelling.<br />[/quote]<br /><br />The [size=150]σεαυτόν is quite standard Attic for "yourself" (sg.acc.). In fact, I've only ever seen it thus in this quote, usually attributed to Socrates quoting Delphi.<br /><br />As for the writing system used in 6th cent B.C.E Delphi, I'm afraid you'll need to find a good book on Greek Epigraphy. I can find no online resource with this info, and I sure don't have any books like this myself. Each region of Greece tended to have its own little writing quirks until the Athenian hegemony finally flattened everything.<br /><br />Greagach, I'm not sure what you mean by a contraction of [size=150]εἰς αὐτόν. I know of no process that would cause [size=150]ει elide.
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vinobrien
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Re:Delphoi

Post by vinobrien » Thu Aug 14, 2003 2:23 pm

[quote author=William Annis link=board=2;threadid=466;start=0#3905 date=1060865017]<br />Greagach, I'm not sure what you mean by a contraction of [size=150]εἰς αὐτόν. I know of no process that would cause [size=150]ει elide.<br />[/quote]<br /><br />The implication is a crasis of [size=150]γνῶθι εἰς αὐτόν to [size=150]γνῶθι σαυτόν but this is not the Delphic instruction as I have ever seen it.
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greagach
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Re:Delphoi

Post by greagach » Thu Aug 14, 2003 3:35 pm

<br /> I obviously mistyped; I meant:<br /><br />[size=150]σέ + [size=150]αὐτόν would give [size=150]σαυτόν<br /><br /> and crasis it is, indeed. <br /><br /> Hope both of you're happy now.
αἴτιον: ἡ ψυχὴ μετὰ λόγου· συναίτιον: τὸ πῦρ [Ἡράκλειτος]

Skylax
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Re:Delphoi

Post by Skylax » Thu Aug 14, 2003 4:54 pm

The [size=150]σε‐ of [size=150]σεαυτον means simply "you" (singular), so the word is parallel to "yourself" - compare [size=150]ἐμαυτόν and "myself".<br /><br />The inscription is quoted by Xenophon, Memorabilia, IV, 2, 24<br /><br />http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/pt ... =4.2.24<br />(Please copy the entire address into your address bar)<br /><br />and by Plato, Charmides, 164e<br /><br />http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/pt ... m.+164e<br /><br />Allusions to the same inscription without a litteral quote :<br />Plato, Phaedrus, 230 a<br />

Alexander14
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Re:Delphoi

Post by Alexander14 » Fri Aug 15, 2003 4:39 am

Thanks so much for all your input. :)<br />I have to admit that my knowledge of Greek is quite limited which can be quite a problem when you're a student of philosophy with an emphasis on Platonic, Neoplatonic and Gnostic thought. <br /><br />The two words are most definitely an important root of ancient philosophy. The attempt to reconstruct the original inscription and researching its history is difficult but also very interesting. <br />The transmission of "know thyself" is usually attributed to Plutarch who mentions it in "On the E at Delphi". I'm not familiar with the writings of Xenophon but thanks for the hint. <br />The question of the alphabet will probably be answered when I get a copy of Cook's "Greek Inscriptions".<br />Summa summarum, it doesn't really matter if you spell the last word "SAUTON" or "SEAUTON" (if I've understood you correctly)? What do you think is closer to the original?
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Skylax
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Re:Delphoi

Post by Skylax » Fri Aug 15, 2003 9:05 pm

Both Xenophon and Plato give [size=150]γνῶθι σαυτόν

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